Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Golden Dragon UNDEFEATED!!

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This was a pretty strange soccer season.  We had practice and games cancelled more times than I can ever remember due to weather.  That meant it was pretty hectic trying to make up all the games at the end of the season.  But, as always, I love coaching these sweet girls.  Halle ages out of Lafayette soccer this year and so I imagine my coaching days are over.  I absolutely cherish the relationships I get to build with these sweet girls and love to watch them grow their soccer skills and grow their character.  We played so well this season and so many of our players had great opportunities to really shine in positions that maybe they normally wouldn’t have picked to play.  Halle stepped up for our team this year and played goalie twice.  She was so awesome!  She was aggressive and confidant.  Also, on our last day of the season in double header, she scored two goals.  It’s so much fun to watch her out on the field.  It was also such a great feeling to step off the field after an undefeated season.  I could not have been more proud.  This season I was also especially grateful for my assistant coach, Gianna.  She was amazing to work with and we had some fun practices!

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We had our annual Parent Vs. Kids soccer game and the kids pulled it out at the last minute.  I got a pretty decent scrape on my leg that turned into a bruise that lasted like 2 weeks!  I don’t like their aggression when it’s directed at me!  Winking smile

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Sunday, May 22, 2016

Our favorite hometown tradition—Erie Balloon festival

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These beautiful balloons make me so happy!  I love seeing them soar over our house almost everyday.  But I especially love this one day when we get up close and personal with the balloons.  Jon brought up the Rowberry kids and we walked up to the golf course together.  It’s a beautiful way to spend an early Saturday morning.  2016-05-21 06.44.35-12016-05-21 06.46.142016-05-21 06.47.152016-05-21 06.49.422016-05-21 06.51.06 HDR-22016-05-21 06.57.592016-05-21 07.06.482016-05-21 07.07.17

We came home and had donuts for breakfast before Rusty had to leave to work on the Rowberry’s backyard and the rest of us headed to soccer. 

Friday, May 20, 2016

The Rest of NYC

As this was a work trip, I didn't see much of Rusty.  But no fear, I managed to entertain myself just fine :). On Sunday, we did get a few hours of fun after our flight landed around 5.  We ate and Mad Square Eats and tried a little bit of everything.  Arancini balls from Arancini Bros, ( The best one being Nutella filled and rolled in cinnamon sugar) , A chicken curry Empanana from La Sonrisa, pizza from Roberta's, and an amazing grain bowl filled with BBQ pork, brown rice, carrots, and pickled cucumber salad from Mayhem and Stout. 
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On our walk back from Trinity Church after visiting A. Ham,  we were right near WTC 1.  Rusty decided he wanted to go to the top so off we went.  It was beautiful to watch the sun set over this marvelous city.  No matter how many times I take in the skyline it never gets old.  
Rusty said he hoped the glass didn't disappear like happened in Harry Potter :)
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The next day I made my way over to Williamsburg in search of the famous rainbow bagels.  These things look cool, but taste GROSS.  Like not even edible.  Oh well...win some lose some.
rainbow bagel
Next up, a tour of Mast Brothers Chocolate which is a bean to bar chocolate operation run by two brothers who are making quite the name for themselves.  On the tour we got to try a cacao seed straight from the pod, taste chocolate in every stage of production, and then sample many, many of the finished products.  I learned a ton!  We even got to try chocolate beer (non alcoholic, of course.). It really didn't taste very good, but it was interesting to try.  No pictures were allowed on the tour, so you'll just have to imagine all the cool things I saw :)
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I had texted Madison the day before to see if she wanted to meet up for lunch.  She suggested Sweetgreen, which was an amazing choice!  Fresh, innovative salads totally hit the spot.  We got our food to go and walked over to a playground so Charley and Bergen could play while we ate and chatted.  It was so fun to see her.  
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She suggested I take a self guided graffiti tour of the neighborhood and sent me a blog link with a map.  It was the perfect suggestion and I had a ton of fun.  Graffiti is so cool. 
“Imagine a city where graffiti wasn’t illegal, a city where everybody could draw whatever they liked.  Where every street was awash with a million coulours and little phrases.  Where standing at a bus stop was never boring.  A city that felt tlike a part where everyone was invited, not just the estate agents and the barons of big business.  Imagine a city like that and stop leaning against the wall – it’s wet.”  --Banksy
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(And obviously, the Simpsons grafitti is not a real Banksy)
I was going to walk back to Manhattan across the Williamsburg bridge but my feet were getting kinda tired so I rented a city bike instead.  It was beautiful to bike across the bridge, but it was a hassle to find a docking station for the bike at the end. 
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The next day I woke up in a post Hamilton fog, and Rusty could only drag me out of bed by dangling Bethesda Fountain in front of me.  So run we did. Don’t mind my incredibly tired eyes.
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Later in the morning I went to the Tenement Museum, which I have been wanting to do for a very long time.  My tour focused on the Irish Immigrants.  What brought them to America, how they were treated (poorly) and the conditions in which they lived (even more poorly). Tenement housing was a term that was used to describe housing with zero amenities.  No running water, no sewer, and only one window per apartment.  Apartments were tiny and consisted of 3 rooms.  A living room, kitchen and bedroom.  Often times 10-16 people were living in each little apartment.  There were 4 apartments on a floor, and 5 floors per building.  It must have been so awful for them.  No pics allowed on this tour either. 
For lunch I went on a Lower East Side Foodie tour by Free Tours by Foot.  The tour is free, you pay for your own food and get whatever you'd like and then tip the guide at your digression at the end.  It was super fun and I'd recommend it to anyone.  This is one time I really wished Rusty was with me so I could have tried more food. 
Nothing really blew me away, but everything was fun and delicious and I tried a few new foods I've never had before.  We started with Knish's from Yonah Schimmel’s.
Then I had a shot of chocolate chip cookie dough butterscotch pudding from Sweet Sugar Sunshine. 
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I tried pickled pineapple from The Pickle Guys (which was actually quite tasty) and Dumplings from a place where the sign was only in Chinese.  The dumplings were my favorite.  So very delicious.  
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Who can’t love a city where this exists?  Itty bitty room filled with vats of pickled products. 
I also tried a Bialy, which is like a flat bagel with lox and cream cheese.  
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We ended the tour with doughnuts from the Doughnut Plant.  They use fresh fruits in their filling and glazes.  I tried the Spring flavor, which was a mango glaze.  
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In case anyone is wondering, yes, my stomach magically grows to about 4 times its normal size when I’m in NYC. 
After a quick stop in Chinatown to look for sunglasses were I confirmed, once again, that I hate Chinatown, I headed back to the hotel.  Later, when Rusty was done with his meetings we went to Ippudo which has 8100 reviews on Yelp.  It didn't disappoint.  We both agreed that our favorite was the vegetable Hirata buns.  Delicious.  The Ramen was also outstanding and we walked away very satisfied with our choice.  The restaurant was in a hip little space in the East Village.  Most the tables were communal style and the kitchen was open.  2016-05-17 20.36.15
I can never leave New York without trying the Cronut of the month.  It was Brown Sugar Rhubarb w/ Lemon Thyme Sugar.
When I read the flavors I'm never sure I'm going to like them.  But then I take a bite and I'm sold!  Dominique Ansel is a pastry god.  Even though this wasn’t my very favorite flavor it was still hard to for me not to eat Rusty’s cronut.
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After I went to the Ham 4 Ham show that afternoon, I hopped over to Urban Vanderbilt for lunch.  I just love food halls.  They are my favorite.  
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I got a chicken sandwich from Delaney's Chicken and a salted caramel dark chocolate brownie from Ovenly.  I took my brownie up to enjoy in Central Park.  I was sitting on a park bench texting my mom and the brownie was sitting next to me.  Something nudged my side and I looked down to see a raccoon swiping my brownie!  He grabbed the whole thing and settled under the bench to devour it.  That little stinker!  
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Well, the brownie wasn't enough for him and he went after my backpack.  I think he could smell the cookies inside that I was bringing home for the kids.  He drew quite the crowd and I couldn't stop laughing. 
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NYC, once again you've totally exceeded my expectations.  See you when we toe the marathon start line in Nov!


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Our trip to NYC was all about Hamilton, Broadway’s hottest hit. We’ve been listening to the music for months and Rusty also bought me the lyrics book that’s annotated by Lin-Manuel Miranda, which we’ve both been pouring over.  Tickets are sold out until Jan of next year and so we’ve been watching the secondary markets closely.  But, sadly, tickets were WAAAAAY out of our price range.  We didn’t schedule any evening plans and decided to put all our luck into winning the lottery.  Every performance they sell 21 tickets for $10.  They call it #HAM4HAM.  Trade one Hamilton ($10 bill) for another (Ticket to the show).  But…almost 10,000 people enter each day so we knew our odds were slim. 
After arriving Sunday afternoon and eating dinner at Madison Square Eats we decided to stroll down to pay our respects at Trinity church where Alexander and Eliza are buried.  The grounds were closed for the evening, but due to the magic of the internet, we were able to locate Hamilton’s grave and see it from the street. 
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Dear A. Ham,
Please oh please let us see your magnificent, marvelous show.  I have the honor to be,
Your Obedient Servant, 
T. Banks
The next morning we also stopped for a photo opp at his statue during our run in Central Park.
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Well…..praying at Hamilton’s grave and visiting his statue didn’t work.  We were not picked in the Monday evening lottery.  We decided we’d go down to the theater anyway and scope out the scene. I met Rusty there after his last meeting had ended for the day. I had heard that sometimes people have a +1 that can’t come and they will sell off the extra ticket.  No luck there either.  No one was willing to part with their golden ticket.  We had also been watching StubHub to see if secondary ticket prices would drop close to show time.  We watched throughout the day as all the tickets got scooped up.  At 6:45, 15 minutes before show time, there was ONE ticket left.  And it was still out of our price range, but it was dropping in price every few minutes.2016-05-16 18.22.33
Please, Please, let us score tickets!
  We were refreshing the page about every 15 seconds.  At 6:50 it dropped by a significant amount and Rusty scooped it up in about 10 seconds flat. I kept saying, “Are we really doing this?  Is this really happening?”  We ran to Will Call and showed them the ticket.  But, they wouldn’t print it for us, and they wouldn't accept the electronic version.  They gave us the name of a deli at the end of the block and said that sometimes they’d print tickets for $10.  We ran as fast as we could.  6 minutes till show time.  The man behind the counter called his boss to ask if we could print.  DENIED.  But he told us there was a Staples 2 blocks away.  4 minutes to show time.  Rusty ran as fast as he could and I made my way to the Marquis Hotel which is right next door to the theater to see if perhaps I could print in their business center.  I got a text from Rusty.  “I have the ticket.  RUN!”  I ran through the hotel, out the door, around the corner to the entrance of the Richard Rogers.  Rusty was waiting there with ticket in hand.  I was the last person in the theater.  I heard the opening song begin as I was sprinting up 2 flights of VERY STEEP stairs.  I slipped into my seat just as Lin walked on stage for his opening line.  “Alexander Hamilton, my name is Alexander Hamilton.  There’s a million things I haven’t done, just you wait.”  The audience erupted in massive cheering and we were all entranced from that moment forward.  I texted Rusty at intermission and asked him if he wanted me to call him on speaker phone and leave it going for Act 2.  He was tempted but didn’t want to run any risk of getting in trouble Winking smile
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It was so much fun.  Total dream come true. Every minute was pure magic.  Rusty met me at the theater when it was over.  We were just hanging around snapping a few pictures when we saw Phillipa Soo (Eliza) slip out a side door.  She had a hat on and her cell phone to her ear.  Rusty managed to catch a picture while I rummaged around my bag for a pen.  By the time I found one she had slipped away into the crowded streets. 
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Rusty had arrived at the theater a few minutes ahead of me before the show and he saw Daveed Diggs (the Marquis de Lafayette and Thomas Jefferson).  I NEVER see anyone famous when I’m in NYC, so to see TWO cast members was so awesome. 
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But the Hamilton fun didn’t end there. For the Wed Matinee they hold a live lottery.  You must be there in person to win.  We were flying out in the early evening so I didn’t enter the lottery, but Lin also hosts a 5 minute little show where cast members or other Broadway Stars perform.  So, I went to watch the show.  And who should perform but Patti LuPone!  She sang, “give my regards to Broadway.”  It was so so much fun.  The hype around this show is CRAZY.  The line to just put your name in the lottery was probably 5 blocks long. 
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This trip will never be forgotten.  NYC, I say it every time, but you are PURE MAGIC.  You never cease to amaze me or make dreams come true.